Terrible Things Happen When the Rules are Ignored

The fertilizer plant that exploded on Wednesday, obliterating part of a small Texas town and killing at least 14 people, had

English: Monica Lewinsky, from her government ...

last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Yet a person familiar with DHS operations said the company that owns the plant, West Fertilizer, did not tell the agency about the potentially explosive fertilizer as it is required to do, leaving one of the principal regulators of ammonium nitrate – which can also be used in bomb making – unaware of any danger there.

Fertilizer plants and depots must report to the DHS when they hold 400 pounds or more of the substance. Filings this year with the Texas Department of State Health Services, which weren’t shared with DHS, show the plant had 270 tons of it on hand last year.

Yes, terrible things happen when people think the rules don’t apply to them.  From grand disasters like the West Texas explosion to the Exxon Valdez to the Gulf oil spill brought to you by BP to Bill Clinton’s escapades with Monica Lewinsky to the drunk driver who kills an elderly woman to …. well the list is just endless isn’t it.

Most accidents?  Yeah, they aren’t so accidental after all.  They are generally the results of carelessness and lack of attention to the rules.  And they are always laoded with consequences for innocent bystanders; for no sin is a private sin.

If You Need Something to Be Outraged About…

Be outraged about the treatment of women (even small ones called girls) in India.

A 5-year-old girl was in serious condition Saturday after being raped and tortured by a man who held her in a locked room in India’s capital for two days, officials said.

The girl went missing Monday and was found Wednesday by neighbors who heard her crying in a room in the same New Delhi building where she lives with her parents, said Delhi police official Deepak Mishra. The girl was found alone locked in a room and left for dead, he said.

A 24-year-old man who lived in the room where the girl was found was arrested Saturday in Muzaffarpur town in Bihar state, about 620 miles east of New Delhi, Mishra said. The man was flown to New Delhi, where a magistrate ordered that he be held in police custody.

The girl suffered severe internal injuries, as well as cuts and bite marks on her face and torso, said D.K. Sharma, the medical superintendent of the government-run hospital in New Delhi where she was being treated. Sharma described the girl’s condition as “serious” and said doctors were trying to stabilize her condition.

Horrifying.  Utterly horrifying.  The world needs to be outraged at this, and a series of such behaviors just like it in India in recent years.  When life is cheap and women are devalued and people are taught that they are mere beasts this is precisely what happens.

Happy 68th Birthday, Philip Davies!

Philip isn’t just a brilliant scholar who has made more groundbreaking contributions to the field of biblical studies than most, he’s also a friend.  A few years back when I was in  Britain for SOTS I stayed in Sheffield for a couple of days and we spent a very fine afternoon walking and chatting and demythologizing.  Here are some photos:

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Happy birthday Philip!  I hope it’s a brilliant, restful, gift filled day!   See you in November in Baltimore.